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My Brothers and Sisters in Christ the King,

On this Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we recall how our heavenly Father “delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13) and remind ourselves that our immortal souls will be judged by God when we die.  When death ends our mortal lives, “we shall be judged on our love” (St. John of the Cross, Dichos 64).

The particular judgment of a person’s life in Christ  occurs at the very moment of death.  Each person receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven – through purification or immediately – or immediate and everlasting damnation.  Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified, live forever with Christ.  This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity is called “Heaven.”

All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are assured of their eternal salvation. However, after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness to enter the joy of heaven.  The Church gives the name “Purgatory” to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.

To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice.  This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “Hell.”

The Last Judgment is preceded by the resurrection of all the dead, of both the just and the unjust.  Christ will then come “in his glory, and all the angels with him, … and all the nations will be assembled before him” (Matthew 5:31,32).  In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare.  Those who are unrepentant “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46).

Only while we are alive in the body do we have the opportunity to either accept or reject the divine grace manifested in Christ.  Unless we freely choose to love God in this life, we cannot be united with him forever in the next.  This day, respond to God’s call to conversion of heart, be inspired by a holy fear of God, be committed to the justice of the Kingdom of God, and proclaim the blessed hope of the Lord’s return.  Amen.

Peace and prayers,  Father Michael

Source: Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1020-1041.



Prayer of Pope Francis for the Synod on the Family

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendor of true love, to you we turn with trust.Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic Churches.Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection and division: may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer. Amen.
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Saint Katharine Drexel